Courts wrap up poll cases
SPECIALISED courts for elections-related criminal cases are winding up their work, with 90 percent of matters having been completed.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba designated 57 magistrates to preside over pre-election, election and post-election politically motivated violence and related offences.
These special courts were gazetted under General Notice 379 of 2018 to ensure a peaceful atmosphere during this year’s election cycle.
In a recent interview, Chief Magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe confirmed that over 90 percent of the 307 cases received by these courts had been completed.
“From 25 June up to 7 September, we have received up to 307 cases of electoral-motivated offences. I can safely say over 90 percent of them have been expeditiously completed.
“We prioritised them and never had problems with them. In Harare, we are only left with the (Tendai) Biti case and the August 1 violence case,” he said.
The bulk of the cases came from Harare (112).
twenty-six MDC Alliance supporters and functionaries were arrested following violence that rocked Harare on August 1. They were accused of inciting public violence and were granted $50 bail each.
Tendai Biti, one of the principals of the MDC Alliance, was arrested in connection with the same case and was granted $5 000 bail.
Most of the reported cases were of people defacing rivals’ campaign posters.
Mr Guvamombe said the special courts only dealt with criminal cases, while civil cases like challenging results of an election were handled by a division of the High court, while a challenge of results of a Presidential election are handled by the Constitutional Court.
High Court Registrar Mrs Faith Mushure recently told The Sunday Mail that 28 petitions were filed countrywide after this year’s elections - a sharp drop from the 110 after the 2013 polls.
Of the 28, 19 are challenges of National Assembly results, and nine challenge local authority outcomes.
In terms of Section 182(1) of the Electoral Act, the Electoral Court Division of the High Court has six months to complete each electoral petition.
Appeals can be lodged with the Supreme Court, which has three months to complete cases.